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The waves of sadness plummet me right down to the bottom of my emotions. There are moments of such desperation- tears flowing, lips quivering, and I can’t even control my facial muscles. The feeling of being out of control comes often. I start planning how I will be stronger than this pain. I plan that I will make money, start running, make a lot of friends. I plan so that I can move past this hurt and get to a better me that will never hurt again this bad. Im listening to Ben Howard right now. His words brought on such strong emotions in me. He’s asking if I’m coming too. If I’m going to alright with going deeper. I think something that has you and me questioning our relationship the most is that I am too young. That you have had the experiences and I haven’t. In one line he says, “we may be too young to know this ride we’re on.” Maybe we are all too young. I’m young and sometimes don’t have the realization that I have been on this earth for 22 years. I have always thought I knew what I was doing. I felt like I could follow others or listen to the wisdom of others and replicate it. I haven’t been in a situation until now that has required my choice without help from any others. I must seek within myself for what feels right and then I feel as if I have understood some small part of my confusion, but then an hour goes by and I switch my stance on everything I have come to a resolution about.

There are moments when I regret bringing on any of this because this relationship seemed so wonderful just a short week ago. But then wishing it didn’t happen doesn’t feel right. It had to happen, and as much as I wish I could wish this sadness and sense of loss away, I can’t and it’s here telling me I must confront it. The confrontation of life asking you to embrace it is scary. Especially when it may just be asking you to end a beautiful relationship. Or not. I don’t know what it’s asking me because I haven’t been able to sit still with it. I haven’t been able to accept that a human being that I adore more than what I thought my heart cable of could vanish. As I’m sitting here with that possibility I am angry. I am so angry that I may never get to embrace this human being with the love I want. Even now-I am in so much denial. And I don’t even know if it is that. I don’t know if it’s just me sensing that we will someday be together again. I just don’t know and this is frustrating and it’s asking more of me than I’ve ever had to give. I’m mad that it isn’t letting me go. I can’t get away with planning an easy exit. A transition to a new, exciting, and rewarding life. I can’t even get away with planning a way back into love with you because I don’t know how you are feeling. I don’t know what this has all lead to because it’s still unfolding itself and I’m sitting here with scissors-willing to desecrate the piece of art if it means finding what is inside the folded secret. What is inside that secret called our future? Am  I really willing to skip all this life in between so that I can just feel what it’s like to be with you again?  Right now I just wish to skip to that part where I know- as long as it’s us being together. But what about the beauty of the unfolding? What about me allowing this journey to take me fully and plunge me into feelings beyond the mundane? It’s so unknown and uncomfortable. Something so opposite of what I was feeling a week ago. I am allowing this to come up and I will embrace even this because in a strange way, I am enjoying the process of feeling deeper, of having my understanding deepened, of loving a human so much through a process of uncertainty of togetherness. This is some of it, but not all of it. There is also the anger that engulfs me into a stage of fear and spitefulness, the feeling of despair and unworthiness, the feelings of extreme loss,  the highs of feeling free to only be crashed back down into great sadness by the thought of ending something seemingly perfect. There is also the anger of not being able to share. There is the selfishness and jealousy, the hurt of feeling unaccepted and no longer lovable. There is so much and then life keeps unraveling and I feel as if I just want to catch you up on everything in my life, I want to tell you of all the feelings, of all the revelations of feelings, I want to share our intimate lives together again and I hear Ben Howard saying maybe we are too young to know the ride we’re on. And maybe I am. I feel his calling “depth over distance was all I asked of you” and I wonder if that is too much to ask. I wonder honestly if deepening our relationship is something I am capable of. And this evokes the fear, sadness, happiness:confusion. I want us both to choose each other, but maybe we’re too young to know this ride we are to know so fully. Before the questioning I think we understood that. We understood that we can’t know this ride.

As a capitalistic society it is argued that we enjoy freedoms that many don’t have. We choose what type of food to eat, what clothing to wear, and the field we work in. But what if this freedom isn’t freedom at all? What if we are being marketed a lifestyle that gives the illusion of freedom. We are given a few options and from these, we are are allowed to choose.These choices can keep most people feeling like they are enjoying comfort, but is there real content in owning hundreds of shirts? Aren’t we susceptible to feeling inadequate still because those shirts are now dated? I don’t want to be part of system that treats me better because I have accumulated so many things that I look rich, but in reality I am wading in misery. I am full of fear that I will be ridiculed and left out. I am so fearful that I will pledge loyalty to a capitalistic society in hopes of appearing successful. Is this necessary? Won’t you all accept me  just the way I to show up? I want to accept you just as you are. I want to create a community with you that focuses more on our quality of life and time together rather than what you have accomplished, what you have acquired. I really believe that right now we can start building that. We aren’t invested heavily in the system yet. We are young and have the choice to question the status quo. We can critique the existing system and just by raising questions and alternative solutions will get a movement going so that we can live a fulfilling and sustainable life. I want to live a life that doesn’t compromise my ethics or philosophy and that means a lot of change. What are you willing to change for your life to line up with your life philosophy?

Existentialism

We are part of this complex relationship in life, to life, with life. Nature is all around us and we often refuse to be part of it, refuse to identify with our own biological make-up that is shared with the rest of all living things. We create this idea of individualism to set ourselves apart from our world. We become our own world. We stop seeing the social connections as important or necessary. We forget that our health and happiness thrive when we are connected, cuddled, and loved. Do we seek to define ourselves so much that we reach into extremes and greedily pull 50-80 hour work weeks? We forget that temporal sovereignty can grant us happiness more than any materialistic item. We have fallen into the belief that we will be fulfilled once we have more. Our affluence reigns us. We struggle to acquire wealth, while giving up prosperity. We must realize our prosperity is more closely tied to psychological well-being, rather than the accumulation of things.

We don’t need to live a life of deprivation, there can be a middle path. Let us be reminded by the ancient adage that moderation in all things will lead us down that path. So maybe we can look at our sacrifice of materialistic goods not as a loss, but liberation. We don’t need to give up everything, but our well-being could greatly improve if we spent more time with one another, less time acquiring money and things and focused that energy into improving equal wealth and health for all of nature.

How to Ski with Style

At some point in our lives we lose that childish confidence that once made us curious about everything. We forget what it is like to not be afraid to ask “But why?” after every statement, no matter the simplicity of the concept. The confidence to try something foreign is exhilarating as a child and we embrace fear, even calling it something else; a challenge.  Looking out over a cliff with the intention of plummeting down a mountain with an elevation of 9,600 feet is when that childlike courage is needed most. Each thought must be elongated with the wind that is piercing through each open crevice to be comprehendible to a mind that is racing with anticipation. Excitement runs through the veins and the heart is awakened from its rhythmic slumber to a drumming beat that the mountain carries to its core.  The mountain reverberates back into the ears of the intruder and without a strong confidence, tumbling thoughts destroy the adventure and it becomes a fight. Confidence must entangle the skier in a web of ability, respect, assurance and trust. This web must be tightly woven with previous experiences of triumph and an inner connection to the mind’s concept of what is possible. As a child, anything is thought to be possible and the web extends in far reaching directions with little or no disruptions in the beautiful landscape of confidence. Children bring their webs up to the natural mountaintops and begin spinning quickly with each look down into the frigid and abominable arduous slopes.   With this web of confidence, the cliffs become a playground and frolicking in it is quickly adapted to and sought after with joyous zeal.

            The moment requiring the most confidence is that first glance down into steep, uninviting and dangerous cliff sides that warn against any inadequacy. The mountain senses any hesitation and as bodies stiffen with fear, the mountain becomes treacherous. A loose body is required when shifting weight from side to side and this begins in the unrestrained mind. There is no room for comforting a shocked mind while concentrating on perfect movements at a speed of up to 100 miles an hour.  The entire body must communicate and work in a synchronized gesture with a precise transfer of weight but overthinking any part jumbles a balanced mind and confidence is quickly replaced with second-guessing. 

            As a young child my confidence was quickly traded in for caution and any curiosity was left unquenched due to a shy nature and no belief in my abilities left me questioning myself every time I started down a mountain. Instead of a web of belief I had a noose of doubt and it left me gasping for air, rigid with fear and my mind was strangled and isolated from the rest of my body. But a day when I wasn’t feeling particularly brave my brother took me to a double black diamond, a cliff I swore I would never go down and constantly rode the chairlift over it with a feeling of defeat. I told him repeatedly to remember my skiing ability and pleaded with him to lead me back to something I was competent in. At the moment, he initiated a huge alteration in my web of confidence. He told me to just do it. “Just jump.” And as the mountain began to reveal itself piece by piece, instead of the thousand-foot drop-off I had envisioned, I relaxed into a state of letting my body function in fluid movements that toiled with the mountain. A sway to the left was controlled under a perfectly functioning body I knew well and each shift allowed for the movement to be comfortable and confident. It began in a cleared and open mind. Vacant of doubts, I allowed my mind to work together with my body instead of trying to take complete control. By listening to each other and giving feedback, my body and mind became a map of my capabilities and I was able to navigate through with a newfound confidence.

            Days before, I had brought a friend to the same ski resort and encouraged her to try it. I had used my brother’s same tactic of “Just do it!” but I was let down time and time again as she just sat for minutes upon minutes after each fall. My patience had never evaporated from me so dryly and I was left with no words of encouragement on her last fall. I became silent as she convinced herself she could never accomplish the task she had so badly yearned for hours before. Her actions revealed a lot to me that day about her as well as society. I looked around at the grown supposedly successful people around me and questioned why they had escalades and wore the latest and most expensive ski equipment when they were clearly incapable of standing on two feet with skis underneath them. As with my friend, they wanted someone else to do the hard work of believing in them. I saw how fear clenched them in a trance and their minds reinforced lies that soon became truth due to a firm belief in their incapability. Society’s weak want affirmation from outside sources. Those who let the belief be spun within them have the capacity for a confidence capable of leading them down cliffs with ease.

            Strong thighs and calf muscles tense and relax on each turn. The abdominal is tightened and once relaxed is worked out as much as hundreds of sit-ups. Shoulders must be built up and broadened as they work together with the triceps to pull the body through the challenging terrain. But none of these will condition the body into taking the initial plunge into frigid and extreme slopes. They will not work in accordance with one another unless there is the strongest organ pulling them all through the valleys of doubt to overcome the mountains of triumph. 

Teacher with a Boa

She stood there with an intense stare, hand on hip and suddenly I felt my spine straighten, my hands didn’t know what to do and my legs fought with each other under this uncomfortable desk. She is small and a woman. I see some students already disregarding her, yet not fully. There is a mystery within her eyes tar intrigues us. And then she speaks. As if my spine wasn’t already stiff, it straightens so tight with a cracking sound. Never has a teacher intimidated me so much yet in the oddest sense. She wasn’t scary. Her mysterious eyes also illuminated a kindness that would entice a child that had been reprimanded intensely not to ever even look at a stranger. Her character allowed for so many outlets of the creative mind to make assumptions about her life. I wonder what her closet looks like, Maybe it is just the fashionista in me, but I have a feeling she has a feather boa, maybe some crazy glasses and a beautiful silk scarf that catches her eye every so often but she rarely wears. But I’m not going to allow my mind to wander too far into that closet because she also seems  like the kind of person to disengage from too many frills. She probably has some saying for it, “The unnecessities  of life are the devil!” But what really allows us to see her in true but dim light are her confessions. No one in my life has ever claimed to be greedy and jealous and overzealous. I smile at her truth. Have I owned up to such undesirable traits? What would people think of me? She didn’t seem to care that I raised my hand for ever single social atrocity. A liar? Oh yes! But that’s not all; I manipulate as well. I even manipulate lies to be blamed on someone else. A cheater? Well I didn’t want her to think I would cheat in her class but I watched my hand go up anyways, greedily drinking in the good feeling of revealing every bad characteristic I have so strategically hidden from everyone but myself. With every secret let out, I was relating more and more to her enthusiasm. I could feel that wild smile take over me and her quick glance bore deep into me. It changed everything. I could use words in a new way. I could look at people and see their humanness. They weren’t perfect, they were just great at hiding. I didn’t want to hide anymore. I wanted this teacher to know my downfalls, every hateful thought wasn’t embarrassing to share and her ears seemed to soak in the disturbing words with no judgement. In fact, she encouraged it. We excitedly shouted out unspoken truth with zeal. We were being let out of a cage society had trapped us in for years. All those things we were never never allowed to say were now acceptable. What a beautiful moment when we were finally allowed to write. Words came together like never before. No boundaries or limits left us in a frenzy. There had been lines before. Views Now the vocabulary we had been storing up for years were flowing out. No, not flowing. She had pulled so much out of us and now it was time to let ourselves reveal it. We could distinguish who the world wanted us to be and who our minds were calling us to become. She had allowed us to explore this fully. Deep inside, where dark corners had hid even darker, blacker secrets and now new feelings were growing. We had been released. Free from this or that, from black or white, from good or bad. Now they blended together and new ideas were formed. New ways of seeing, of understanding and beautiful new ways of writing these new truths. 

The Alien

As they waited for their mom to get back to the car with the younger two children, they sat in the car with no toy, no air and worst of all, no happiness. Every single time they went to the grocery store, their mom took the entire day to pick out food for the family. Yet, the tasty food always went to the younger ones even though the older ones were growing faster and exerting more energy.

“It isn’t fair that they get to go in and get all the samples. They probably even have cookies and donuts in each aisle.”

“Yeah, but my feet hurt and I didn’t want to walk forever. Too bad they always get to sit in the front of the cart. We used to get to be up high like on a chariot but now we have been replaced.”

“I just want a donut.”

“You are always hungry!”

“It’s because we don’t get as much food anymore! I try to take some of Vallon’s but he cries when I grab anything from his hand.”

“I will show you how it is done when they get back. I bet you five cents they got to pick out food.”

“Then why didn’t we get to go? Now I’m mad that you made me stay, jerk.”

“Fine, go. But if you get lost mom is going to leave without you and you will stay here all night.”

“Shut up.” But she didn’t dare step foot out into a hectic Safeway on Memorial Day weekend. Instead she stared out the window and dreamed about everything she would have if only her stupid younger brother and sister weren’t alive.  “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? That isn’t fair!!!!” She jumped out of her seat and flung her thin body over the front seat to get a better view of that enormous maple donut. She couldn’t believe this whiny and sticky baby was clutching her dream donut. He was chomping away quickly and her mouth was watering like crazy. She flung the van door open and raced to the cart. “Mooooooooooom! Where is mine?!” She demanded with a intense look.”

“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry. I guess I didn’t think about you guys also wanting one. Next time. Now help e with these groceries before your dad gets mad that I haven’t even started dinner.”

“But….my donut?”

“Victoria, stop it! Stop acting like a kid!”

That was it. She knew she could kill off her younger brother and sister so that she wouldn’t have to share her donuts anymore. Her mom would even probably remember that she is a kid. “Ok, Vaughn let’s sit in the back so we can start planning.”

She realized it was going to be easier than she thought because Vaughn had some good ideas too. He had been keeping a lot of ideas to himself, which annoyed her because they were always partners.

“First, we should steal her eggs because then she will be sad that her babies are gone.” She thought up, feeling brilliant. “Moms always get sad when their eggs get stoled.” Soon, she saw this wasn’t the best way to get rid of her sister though.  She was the one who put rocks under her sister’s bed in an attempt last week to convince her family that her sister was in fact an alien. “Ok, never mind, that wont even kill her. We need to find out other ways aliens die.”

“Well mom and dad are always saying to not go by the washermadryer. They said it drowns you.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know. It probably means it makes you sleep….orrrrrr it means there are aliens in there!”

“Yeah! Mom and dad didn’t want us going in there cuz we would get turned into aliens too! Yeah, they prolly didn’t want all their kids getting turned into aliens!”

“But every time we talk about her being an alien, she gets mad. She even cried last time when I poked her blue veins on her forehead. No one even has blue on their face except her. Mom tries to make her feel better by calling it asthma.”

“Asthma? Prolly just the type of alien. Like usually aliens are green but maybe asthma is a blue alien.”

“Ok whatever. Let’s just get her into the washermadryer so she can finally go back to her asthma home.”

“Vaughn, maybe we should put food in there and some candy cuz if we never see her again, we want her to still be friends with us. I will go get her eggs and you get some food. “

15 minutes later they both have their promised materials and they start chucking it into the washing machine.

“Let’s go get her. Should we let her say goodbye to Vallon?”

“No, Vallon doesn’t care about anything but food and mom. “

“Ok, fine. Oh no! We forgot toys!”

“Hey Val, want us to help you put some toys in your play area? I will get your dolls and Vaughn will get your hairbrush but you have to hurry because we have a surprise for you! Get your favorite stuff but not too much because I don’t really want to carry very much.”

“Ok just a few more steps and then you can get in. It will be fun so stop saying you don’t want to. You should listen to us cuz we’re older. Don’t you want to have fun? Ok, good. We even put the step stool up against it so you can get in easier cuz we don’t want you to get hurt.

“What the hellllllll are you doing??? Are you dumb? What the? My brand new washing machine? Your dad is going to whip you so hard when he gets home! Did you even think before doing this? Dammit! Valerie get the hell out off of the step stool! Why the hell is there smashed bread and bananas in here? Did you do that Valerie? These are all your toys, do you think that is funny?

Finally, they thought: revenge. She is going to get it so bad. She never gets yelled at. Never has to do chores because dust would eat her insides or something. Doesn’t have to go to school because infection and she always gets candy out of those orange plastic containers that don’t open unless it is an adult. Finally, she would get yelled at. But then…

“What the hell? You are old enough Vaughn! You are old enough to know that Valerie shouldn’t be doing this? Why didn’t you stop her? Why can’t you ever just help out? Why can’t you just be a good older brother? Well you can just go hungry tonight! Maybe a growling stomach will make you think about the food wasted in here and taking better care of your family! Now go sit in your room until your dad gets home! GO!”

They ran upstairs, leaving their pitifully, pale sister behind and dove into their underwear drawer. “The more underwear you have on, the less the belt will leave welts. “ And with a bulging bottom, and a hungry stomach they waited. With each second that ticked by, they thought even harder about better ways to kill that asthma alien.

 

 

White Colors

White. White skin, beautiful white Mercedes, white snow: a white world. We had grown up in a white society, in a blond family, in Tahoe with no diversity. This was our comfort zone but that changed when the only white that San Francisco offered us was the fog from above. For so long we had associated white with peace, comfort, and power. But that first day of school in a colorful society, we were shaken from our white world. Right out of that white winter snow globe and dropped into a busy, limitless, uncomfortable world. The first few days my sister and I went about life in a daze, not fully comprehending the richness of this new life. And then with each new language being rapidly spit out, no understanding, no ability to communicate we became confused. Each new food enticing our white bellies of chicken and noodles and broccoli. Buildings stacked with bodies, no contact with one another but so close. Noises were not just my own. No, now they rattled in others’ minds.  My tears and pain connected me with people instead of being quickly wiped away by the white mob telling me to get it together.  My questions were being answered but more came as soon as I gorged myself on information from my surroundings. And as I strove further into knowledge the more I realized I didn’t know what I thought. I had lived in a false understanding of the world and now that all this was presented to me, I fell into a fit of seeking everything I could. Life no longer moved day to day. Time did not allow for night to be reserved for sleeping. Instead it became bright lights and smoke and people laughing. It became a time to see the city through a different perspective. Night was a continuation of days and with no sleep in between, time wasn’t measured. Due dates were hard to interpret and “time management” as they said became increasingly hard to calculate. Time was white. Time meant schedules and fancy watches that white people had to abide by.  Night was when white people had to sleep. They couldn’t comprehend a time opposite of them. So dark and mysterious and they just wanted to sleep it all away. So as I fell into darkness, I became mysterious. Didn’t know where I would be and couldn’t say when I would be back. It was so easy and so freeing, yet so uncomfortable and so different.

A party.  That night when I walked in the door and didn’t instantly feel all eyes on me, that was when it changed. No one had changed positions or looked in my direction. No one was thinking about me and for the first time in my life I didn’t think about what they were thinking about me. I strolled through the door and didn’t think, just smiled. I smiled at the Chinese girl couple, never having seen lesbian girls before and once condemning such a thing; I didn’t expect myself to accept it so easily.  The drinks sprawled out on the couches, floors, overflowing from the trash cans and filth-ridden sinks gave me the urge to clean, but not to judge.  White wasn’t here, well in me it was, but all around there were colors and I wanted to paint. I wanted to paint the world in the laughter of black and brown and redistribute the white money to the yellow districts.

Hitting me with so much force, my arms became lead, my legs immobile, my mind spinning and my heart glued to her, I was finally uncomfortable. All night I thought it had vanished from within me but now with it being so unexpected, I had no way of reacting rationally. My brain couldn’t make connections and I stared and then I fought with myself. I wanted so badly to talk to her but instead I stared. Then finally I walked to this poised woman and sat next to her. I couldn’t speak for a moment and I felt as giddy as that afternoon I pursed my lips for that first kiss. She didn’t smile but I knew it was alright that I sat. She didn’t care to talk or not. She had been here all night with that same beautiful posture and relaxed attitude. So it was abrupt when I gushed out questions. I knew my understanding of her was white and so shallow and so wrong. So as I sought to correct my knowledge, I flooded her with questions, not knowing right from wrong or acceptable from inappropriate. Each question led me to an answer so far away from my previous knowledge, I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell the white world, the powerful white telling us false information and the white men in their business suits to just listen. Why weren’t they listening? Why were they allowing night and day to be segregated by time? More answers, more frustration and then more questions. Each thing she explained about being black or about her situation led me to loving her for sharing herself and hating her for destroying my ignorance.